Scientific Coordinator of FLUNIVAC, based at Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Virology, Infectious Diseases
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Guus Rimmelzwaan is Professor of Immunovirology at the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam. He has a long standing track record of investigating immunity to influenza virus infections. “Working on the ‘Holy Grail’, the development of a universal influenza vaccine, is a major and motivating challenge for me”, he says.
Flu claims more lives each year than traffic. Effectively protecting the population from seasonal and pandemic influenza has proven to be a challenge. The virus mutates rapidly, so vaccine production is constantly lagging behind. Current influenza vaccines fail to provide long-lasting and broad protection against influenza.
FLUNIVAC aims to develop a novel influenza vaccine that protects against multiple influenza strains. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a viral infection of the respiratory tract. Influenza viruses cause regular epidemics of flu (seasonal flu). They occasionally cause pandemics such as the 2009 Mexican flu.
FLUNIVAC is a collaborative research project funded by the EU. The novel vaccine will contain one or more proteins that are essential for the influenza virus life cycle. The vaccine should protect against a broad range of flu viruses by inducing two types of immune response in the body: antibody-mediated and T-cell-mediated.
Developing a universal flu vaccine
Negative-stained transmission electron micrograph of an influenza virus particle
Image Credit: Kat Masback
CDC employee receives flu vaccine
Image credit: James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Portrait of the project coordinator:
Timeline (in chronological order):
1599: Kat Masback; 1898: Wikipedia; 1918: USArmy photographer; 1968-69: UC Davis; 2009: C. S. Goldsmith and A. Balish, CDC; 2013-chickens: Jayme Frye; 2013-vaccination: AJ Cann
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